Abstract Detail

Fossil plants at the intersection of evo-devo and phylogeny: celebrating the contributions of Gar W. Rothwell to biodiversity and evolution


Fossil plants at the intersection of evo-devo and phylogeny: celebrating the contributions of Gar W. Rothwell to biodiversity and evolution.

The 470(or more)-million-year evolutionary history of plants has left behind a rich fossil record that we are still uncovering, with no end in sight. These plant fossils contribute crucial data relevant to studies of biodiversity and biogeography, phylogeny, and the evolution of development, as well as paleoclimate and global change. In all of these research directions, fossils provide the only access to novel information that would not be available by any other means. As a result, paleobotany offers invaluable perspectives applicable to evolutionary questions that range from the organismal level to the ecosystem and global levels. This symposium explores the contributions of fossils to three of these major research directions, in a celebration of the distinguished career and contributions of Gar W. Rothwell. In terms of biodiversity, the fossil record, thought to comprise potentially upwards of 90% of all biodiversity that ever lived on earth, produces a steady output of new taxa. These fossils provide hard calibration points for clade-dating studies. Furthermore, extinct species, often exhibiting novel combinations of characters, add resolution to phylogenetic trees and are, consequently, key to studies of deep phylogeny. Additionally, morphological and anatomical information contained in fossils includes features that can be used as fingerprints for the presence of specific regulatory mechanisms. This allows for tracing the taxonomic and stratigraphic occurrences of such regulatory mechanisms and, ultimately, refining our understanding of morphological evolution within an evo-devo framework. The six speakers are established scientists from four countries (US, UK, Japan, Argentina), who have been influential contributors in the specific fields covered by their proposed symposium topics. They will explore themes that cross disciplines and integrate the fossil record in discussions of fern and seed plant evolution and reproductive biology, broad-scale phylogenetic patterns and phylogenetic theory, and the evolution of plant development. Given the high projected number of additional papers relevant to the topic that we expect to be submitted, we expect this symposium to be complemented by a colloquium. This symposium proposal and the associated colloquium received unanimous approval at the 2017 meeting of the Paleobotanical Section (Fort Worth, TX).

1 - Humboldt State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA, 95521, USA

seed plant

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Abstract ID:22
Candidate for Awards:None

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